It’s a delightful coincidence for golfers visiting the Myrtle Beach area that two of Mike Stranz’s finest works sit across the road from one another on Pawley’s Island, S.C.--True Blue Golf Plantation and the Caledonia Golf and Fish Club.
The two courses are considered among the best of the best in this golfing Mecca and receive annual plaudits from a number of august golf publications.
True Blue features spacious fairways and subtle elevations within the rolling terrain and native vegetation of a once-thriving indigo and rice plantation, making for one of the more spectacular settings in all of golf.
True Blue is a stern test from the back markers, measuring 7,126 yards with a par of 72. There is a unique arrangement of five par-fives, five par-threes and eight par-fours. The number one handicap hole hits you right out the box, the 624-yard par-five first that bends to the left with sand all over and a creek that fronts the putting surface.
Caledonia sits atop a historic rice plantation and winds its way through terrain that is typical of a Lowcountry track, with tidal marshes, freshwater creeks and giant live oaks lining the lush fairways.
Caledonia is more of a shot maker’s course and tighter than its neighbor True Blue, with trees lining many of the holes and ample bunkering in the fairways and around the greens. The course stretches to just over 6,500 yards from the tips and plays to a par of 70.
An example of the subtle danger Caledonia offers is the short, 118-yard par-three ninth. Hit the rather spacious green with nothing more than a wedge or nine-iron and birdie waits. Miss and find the sea of sand that surrounds the putting surface and you may make bogey or worse.
“The fact that both courses are Mike Stranz designs and are right next to one another makes them truly special and unique,” says Bob Seganti, the friendly director of golf operations for both courses. “I would describe True Blue as a little quirky, with its mix of par-fives and par-threes, a par of 37 on the front and 35 on the back, and some fairways that are over 100 yards wide. There is a lot of room to move around with no rough to speak of. The penal areas are water features and large waste areas that are in lieu of trees along the fairways.”
He described Caledonia has more of parkland course that has a seamless rhythm to its routing, with the focus on natural and manmade beauty.
“Whereas we have 18 separate signature holes at True Blue with surprises at each tee box, Caledonia is a straightforward design with beautiful landscape and live oaks throughout the course. You don’t have anywhere near as much room as at True Blue to move the ball. Both have very few blind shots and not many forced carries.”
He added, “Stranz always gives the golfer an area to run the ball onto the green, which is a nice feature for amateurs.”
The courses operate as separate entities but have one owner. Any number of stay and play packages are available at the True Blue Resort, including the two courses as well as other top courses in the Myrtle Beach area.
True Blue has an 18-acre putting facility, a fully-stocked pro shop and a grille room. The club is always running food and beverage specials for its customers.
“We like to think of ourselves as having upscale golf courses with a laid back attitude,” says Seganti. “The service is professional and polite.”
Prices range from twilight rates as low as $49 to peak season greens fees of $150.